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First Form Greek Complete Set Review by Laura O’Neill

Book by Cheryl Lowe and Michael Simpson
Instructional DVD Set features Elizabeth Pierce
Memoria Press
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213

Teaching a foreign language to your homeschool student can seem like a daunting task. When that language is out of the mainstream, like Greek, it can appear to be more challenging. Finding a complete program which assumes the teacher has no background in the subject matter becomes the key for it to work.

First Form Greek from Memoria Press does just that. They offer a complete year-long program for students in grade 8 and up that teaches your students Greek. And there is no expectation of the parent having knowledge of the language. After completion of the course, your student should be ready to study the Greek New Testament and Septuagint or Classical Greek authors like Xenophon and Plato.

When you order the First Form Greek Complete Set you will receive:

A Student Text
A Teacher Manual
A full-size Student Workbook
A Quizzes & Tests booklet
A Teacher Key (for Workbook, Quizzes & Tests)
A Pronunciation CD
Instructional videos (delivered online)

This course has 5 units containing a total of 26 lessons. The suggested pace is one lesson per week with each unit ending with a week of review then a unit test. Each unit has an introduction component which should take one day to complete.

Within the Teacher Manual, you will find the daily workload is broken down in detail. Those specifics by day surround an inset copy of the student text pages for the lesson. Included on those pages are additional notes to help you guide your student.

Material is first presented in the student text. Each unit has a short introduction followed by lessons and review pages. Additionally, there are appendices with grammar forms, oral drill charts, prayers, conversational Greek, Greek sayings, a map of Greece, and a vocabulary index containing both Greek to English and English to Greek.

One aspect of the daily work is completion of pages in the Student Workbook. The work is divided by day with all pages for the lesson done within 4 days. Many of the activities request that the student complete the material from memory rather than referring to the book or videos. Many of them also ask the student to verbally say their answers after they have been written correctly.

Each lesson has a quiz to end the week. Units end with a test. These are in the Quizzes & Tests booklet. Unlike the other materials, this book has perforated pages so you can pull out the specific quiz or test to administer.

In the Teacher Key (for Workbook, Quizzes & Tests), you will find copies of all assigned student work with answers marked in blue. They are printed 2 student pages per page. Workbook pages are in the front portion of this book with the quizzes and tests in the back. A unique feature of this book is the spiral binding which makes it easier to lay flat when grading the student’s work.

The Pronunciation CD, flashcards, and instructional videos work in concert to support your student in learning the materials. The instructional videos have teacher Elizabeth Pierce presenting the student text material with an emphasis on proper pronunciation. Lessons often have her encouraging the student to pronounce things with her. Those exercises can then be reinforced through use of the Pronunciation CD and flashcards.

Memoria Press suggests that students complete the Greek Alphabet Book before embarking on First Form Greek. However, a motivated student can elect to spend more time in the first lesson, committing the Greek alphabet to memory instead. My teenager did not have any previous coursework in Greek and took that approach.

My son is a very visual learner and did try to utilize mostly the book at first. For learning the proper pronunciations, he needed to take time with the CD, at a minimum. As the instructional videos are mainly a walk through the student text, I was okay with his proceeding this way. However, I found that I needed the videos to bring me up to speed as I wanted to see the words being spoken.

While the workload is not very cumbersome, there is the need to dedicate time each day in a disciplined fashion to see progress. Students are expected to spend time completing a section from the workbook during 4 of the days. Daily review of the vocabulary, sayings, and grammar forms is also built into the program.

This amount of work is why my son will most likely spend more than a week per lesson to complete the course. He is passionate about many things Greek. Yet, he does not want to spend an hour or more per day on just the language right now. Making that adjustment for him to succeed is worth it to me.

If you are seeking a complete program that will have your student establishing a firm foundation in Greek, then you should consider First Form Greek. I can envision an optimal approach to include the parent working on the material alongside the child. Ideally, it could be more of a family affair if the kids are close enough in age. Practicing the vocabulary aloud is important, and the process is more fun with someone else and not just a CD.

- Product review by Laura O’Neill, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017